To mark National Children’s Eye Health month (24 October – 23 November) colleagues and customers at Specsavers in Congleton raised money for the Royal National Institute of Blind People to increase awareness around the importance of good eye care among children.
The fundraising effort came after research from Specsavers and the Royal National Institute of Blind People revealed around 20 per cent of school children still have an undiagnosed vision problem - despite eye tests being free with an NHS voucher.
State of the Nation
The State of the Nation’s Eye Health report also showed that 27 per cent of parents with children aged three to 16 said their children had never had an eye test.
Store director Tim Lovatt said: ‘Good eye health plays such an important role in a child’s overall development - be it enhancing their language and cognitive skills, to improving their social abilities when interacting with others. Therefore, it is shocking to learn that such a significant number of parents are leaving it so late before taking their child for an eye test.
‘The detection of common sight problems amongst children, such as a lazy eye, squint or short sightedness, can be treated more effectively provided they are spotted early enough - ideally before a child turns eight. However many parents are clearly still in the dark about how to protect their child’s vision.
‘National Children’s Eye Health month is a great way to get the message out there and hopefully encourage more parents to take advantage of the free sight tests available to their children.’
To promote the highest standards of clinical testing for children, Specsavers has introduced a pediatric eyecare BTEC level 6 qualification. There are currently 1,164 optometrists, contact lens opticians and dispensing opticians enrolled on the course and Specsavers has waived all course fees to encourage more take up.
To support National Children’s Eye Health month, participating Specsavers stores nationwide will be fundraising for local children’s eye health hospitals and charity partner RNIB through it Wear Dots, To Raise Lots initiative.
In addition, stores are contacting local schools to offer the free SchoolScreener EZ software, which is unique in being suitable for use with children as they progress through schooling up to age 18 and includes a colour vision test.
The software, created by Thomson Screening, has been designed to be operated by teachers or classroom assistants and is currently being used by more than 1,700 schools. It also has 35 different language options. Schools can also register to receive their free kit at screeningforschools.com.